VA and the American Legion Express Concern About VA Staff Shortages

During a recent hearing by the House of Representatives Veterans Affairs (VA) Sub-Committee on Health, an American Legion Director spoke about the dangers of staff shortages among physician and medical specialists within the Veterans Health Administration. Similarly, the Department of Veterans Affairs is warning of a rapidly growing backlog for veterans who seek to appeal decisions involving disability benefits.

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American Legion National Commander Addresses Joint Veterans Affairs Committee

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt recently testified before a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees. Schmidt said that at one point quality was the prevailing problem at the VA, not access, and that all worked together to turn VA into what is now described by patients and most experts as ‘the best care anywhere.’  An unpredicted result in many areas, however, became the long line to get appointments.  Improving access to care is now the challenge, and “there is …

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State by State Guide to Veterans Benefits

The American Legion national website now offers a handy state-by-state directory of veterans benefits, some of which are little-known. From healthcare services to housing, education, employment and more, the new guide details state and federal benefits for those who have served the nation in uniform and their families. In some states, different benefits are available for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

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American Legion on VA Appeals Process and Commission on Care Plan

The American Legion has strongly encouraged passing of legislation to reform the Veterans Affairs appeals process.  The Legion has also addressed Congress on the Commission on Care’s recent recommendations to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve the delivery of health care.  The Legion supports the creation of fully integrated health-care networks that would make VA responsible for coordination of care and meet the needs of the growing veteran population requiring VA services and outside care from community providers.

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Veterans Affairs Secretary Addresses American Legion Convention

Joining thousands of attendees at their 98th annual national convention, VA Secretary Robert McDonald addressed American Legion members.  He emphasized the ongoing MyVA transformation strategies designed to give every Veteran an exceptional experience with the Department of Veterans Affairs that’s easy, consistent, and memorable.

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American Legion Opposes Efforts to Privatize VA Health Care

American Legion representatives met with members of the VA’s Commission on Care recently to discuss what is described as a “strawman” plan suggesting the inception of a community care-based system for veterans.  The plan would shut down VA medical centers over time, sending veterans out into their local communities to receive all of their medical treatment.  Legion input emphasized that fixing the existing problems at the VA would be a better option than a complete overhaul and privatization of the system.

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Developing Patient-Centered Care Strategies at the VA

The American Legion recently emphasized to Congress that the VA must develop a program to include a patient-centered care strategy which takes veterans’ unique medical injuries and illnesses as well as their travel and distance into account.  The VA Under Secretary for Health recently addressed actions underway to transform the Veterans Health Administration and move it into an integrated community care model.

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“Fixing Veterans Health Care” Report

The “Fixing Veterans Health Care” report issued recently by Concerned Veterans For America proposes sweeping changes to the VA health care system.  Veteran organizations are concerned that it does not address some fundamental questions about how the proposed new system would be funded, governed, and held accountable.  Related, the American Legion National Commander presented a wide-ranging legislative agenda to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs.

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The Fixing Veterans Health Care Report can be downloaded at:

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The American Legion’s New Employment Center Website for Vets

The American Legion has a new website to help military veterans find employment. Key features include a military skills translator, job search assistance, informative videos, listings of career fairs for vets, and more.

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Email Alert – 15 MAY 2014: Vets Share Phoenix VA Experiences at American Legion Meeting

About 200 veterans and family members attended a May 13 American Legion System Worth Saving (SWS) town hall meeting at Legion Post 41 in Phoenix that focused on problems at the local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center.


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